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22 September 2007

Pinckney leaves for NBA

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/22/2007 07:50:00 PM
Villanova assistant coach Ed Pinckney will leave the team to join the coaching staff of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, Villanova University announced on Friday.

Pinckney will accept an asisstant coaching position under Timberwolves' head coach Randy Wittman, and will be reunited with guard Randy Foye, who starred for Villanova from 2002 to 2006.

Pinckney earned his spot on the Villanova bench in May 2003, and served as an assistant coach for the Wildcats for four seasons. According to Villanova, Pinckney "was involved in all aspects of coaching, including on-court teaching, recruiting and scouting."

Many fans, however, will miss particularly Pinckney's recruiting prowess.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright said that he was proud of Pinckney for earning the NBA opportunity:

Eddie has made a great impact as a player and alumnus but his four years as a coach were just as meaningful. Eddie became a great recruiter and mentor to our young men. We will miss having him around us every day but we also know that Eddie will remain a great representative of Villanova basketball.

Pinckney led Villanova to the NCAA championship in 1985 before spending 12 seasons in the NBA.

According to Villanova University, a search for the next assistant on Jay Wright's bench is already underway.

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11 September 2007

Rivals ranks 'Nova preseason #34

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/11/2007 02:42:00 AM
Rivals.com, the Yahoo-owned high-school and college sports site, has slotted Villanova #34 in its preseason men's basketball power rankings.

The article features an in-depth preview of the Wildcats' frontcourt, backcourt, offense, defense, and more.

Rivals predicts a Villanova starting lineup of Corey Fisher, Scottie Reynolds, Corey Stokes, Dante Cunningham, and Shane Clark for the 2007-2008 season.

While that may well be the starting lineup at the end of the season, I think that Reggie Redding will start at least through calendar-year 2007.

At #34, Rivals placed the 'Cats between UAB (#35) and Cal (#33).

The site is counting down to its number one team, which will evidently be revealed in about one month. #33 Cal is the highest-ranked completed review.

Rivals ranks Villanova's fellow Big East member Notre Dame at #36.

St. Joseph's, a member of the Philadelphia Big 5 along with Villanova, is ranked #51.

Drexel, the unofficial "sixth member" of the Big 5, is ranked #64.

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Full 2007-2008 Villanova schedule set

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/11/2007 02:09:00 AM
Our long wait is over.

Villanova has posted the full 2007-2008 men's basketball schedule.

There are no surprises on the schedule; most die-hard fans had already accurately worked out exactly which teams the Wildcats would face this year. Still, it's nice to see it all in one place, neatly formatted on the official Web site.

I'll be analyzing the schedule and posting my thoughts in the coming weeks, but for now, enjoy a nice write-up by the Villanova basketball PR staff.

A quicky screenshot of the schedule appears below. Home games are in blue fill. National television coverage is also listed, but some tip-times are to be determined.

Click on the image below for a larger, legible version of the schedule.

Remember, a continually-updated version of this schedule can always be found at Villanova.com.

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06 September 2007

Big East schedule released

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/06/2007 06:22:00 AM
The 2007-2008 Big East Conference basketball schedule was released yesterday. A PDF copy is available from the Big East Web site.

This, of course, means that the bulk of Villanova's schedule is now in place for the upcoming year.

Villanova also has the good fortune of playing on national television at least 10 times next season.

Villanova will face LSU in the Big East-SEC challenge on Dec. 6 at the Wachovia Center,

The Wildcats open conference play on January 3 at DePaul.

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04 September 2007

Man charged in Porter murder

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/04/2007 11:47:00 PM
Second-degree murder charges were filed today against a 29-year-old St. Paul man in the Howard Porter case, according to an AP article available on ESPN.

Rashad Arthur Raleigh was arrested and released in early June before he was charged with the murder of Porter today. He has been in police custody since mid-August on unrelated charges.

The details of the complaint are not pretty for the memory of the former Villanova great. From the AP:

Former Villanova star and Ramsey County probation officer Howard Porter was trying to trade money and crack cocaine for sex with a prostitute when he was beaten to death, according to murder charges filed Tuesday against a St. Paul man.

The AP also reported the criminal complaint filed today described the manner in which Porter was murdered:

According to the criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court, Porter accompanied a prostitute he had picked up on the street to her apartment for a "date." The woman, Tonya Evette Johnson, told police four masked men rushed in to her apartment, threw her to the floor and demanded drugs and money.

Johnson told police the four men beat Porter "real bad, God real bad" and that "there was blood everywhere," the complaint quoted her as saying. Police said they found blood spattered throughout the house.

Porter died May 26 in a Minnesota hospital after being found unconscious and unidentified in a Minneapolis alley.

Widely considered one of the greatest players to ever wear a Villanova uniform, Porter struggled with drug addiction after a seven-year NBA career.

Porter was living in Ramsey County, Minnesota and working as a probation officer at the time of his death at age 58.

You can read Let'sGoNova's previous Howard Porter coverage here.

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Tyreke plans official visit

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/04/2007 02:23:00 PM
According to the college hoops writer Adam Zagoria, Tyreke Evans will make an official visit to Villanova sometime in November.

Zagoria reports that Tyreke now plans to make four more official college visits: UConn, Texas, Memphis, and Villanova, in that chronological order.

Zagoria quotes Reggie Evans, Tyreke's influential brother:

We want to do a visit with the [Villanova] staff and the crew the right way after we get back from Memphis. [...] If we want to re-visit Louisville, we'll do that. We have enough to go off that. Seton Hall was a great visit. We got them in our mind as well.

So what does this mean for the Wildcats' chances on landing the top shooting guard in the country?

It has to be encouraging, for two reasons. First, it is always nice to get a recruit's last official visit. Most people, basketball players or not, wind up at the last college they visited, in my estimation. The fact that Tyreke and his family will be stopping by in November, with basketball season underway, can only help the 'Cats.

Second, it is very nice to hear that Tyreke may not go back down to Louisville at all. Even if he already has a "good feel" for the school, the fact that the Cardinals are not yet on Tyreke's fall itinerary has to spell bad news for their chances.

Though Memphis, Louisville, or UConn might make us worry right to the end, I can now say without reservation that Villanova is a solid leader in the Tyreke Evans sweepstakes.

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Reynolds nets 33 as 'Cats beat Carleton alumni

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/04/2007 05:59:00 AM
In what has become a familiar theme these past 10 months, Scottie Reynolds put his team on his back and carried Villanova to a win last night.

Reynolds, the sophomore guard from Herdon, Va., scored 33 points, and the Wildcats dismissed a motley assortment of Carleton basketball alumni in the Ravens' Nest, 77-62.

Most of the all-star opponents have played professionally in Europe or Australia, and the game was arguably the Wildcats' toughest of the weekend. The win improved Villanova to a perfect 4-0 on the Canadian exhibition tour, and the Wildcats returned to campus after the game.

Reynolds started the game scorchingly hot, as usual, from behind the three-point line, sinking 5 of his first 6 attempts. Despite the fast start from downtown, Reynolds's scoring was consistent throughout the game, with 17 points in the first half and 16 in the second.

The freshman guard Corey Stokes scored 12 points in 25 minutes to round out an excellent debut weekend. Fellow freshman Corey Fisher added 7 points and a team-high 5 assists, which is an excellent sign for the upcoming season.

Dante Cunningham, the junior forward, scored 10 points before fouling out.

The starting lineup for the game was Cunningham, Shane Clark, Andrew Ott, Reggie Redding, and Reynolds.

After the game, Jay Wright praised Reynolds's ability to score outside of handling point guard duties:

Scottie did a great job. I knew he was good off the ball but I thought he was terrific working with Corey Fisher and Malcolm Grant today.

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03 September 2007

'Nova rains threes in Ottawa in romp over "Gee Gees"

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/03/2007 12:04:00 AM
Villanova exploded for triple digits tonight to remain undefeated on its Canadian exhibition tour with a 103-72 win over the host University of Ottawa Gee Gees.

A fourth and final game for the trip is scheduled tomorrow at noon back at Carleton University against an all-star team of Ottawa and Carleton basketball alumni.

The 'Cats connected on a scorching 14 of 19 three-point attempts to blow the Gee Gees out of their own gym. Ottawa had actually led, 23-20, as late as the 12:41-mark in the first half before a pair of threes by Scottie Reynolds put the Wildcats ahead for good.

Reynolds led Villanova in scoring with 19 points, and shot a ridiculous 5-5 from behind the arc. He also dished out a team-high 6 assists in his 26 minutes of floor-time.

Corey Stokes also shot well from the three, converting 4 of 6 attempts for 12 points, in 26 minutes of playing time.

Rounding out the Wildcats' prolific-scoring backcourt were Corey Fisher with 11 points, Reggie Redding with 12 points, and Malcolm Grant with 13 points off the bench. Redding, in particular, was impressive with his 5-6 shooting effort, including a perfect 2-2 from behind the three-point line.

The frontcourt upperclassman Dante Cunningham dominated the paint with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 swats in a team-high 28 minutes.

The starting lineup tonight featured Cunningham and Shane Clark up front, and Redding, Reynolds, and Fisher in the backcourt.

The offensive firepower comes as no surprise for a Wildcats team with a plethora of new scoring options. Though Big East defenses will be significantly more stingy than those the 'Cats faced north-of-the-border, Villanova's explosive backcourt may prove too much for anyone to contain once it gets going from outside.

Villanova's improving frontcourt is now also loaded with young depth, and foul trouble may be less of a concern for the 2007-2008 season.

So what have we learned through three games this weekend? For one, All-American Corey Stokes, as advertised, will immediately be one of the best shooters in the Big East. Scottie Reynolds picked up where he left off last spring as one of the best guards in the college game, period. Corey Fisher is a solid ballhandler and will be a player.

Malcolm Grant may have been most impressive of all; often overlooked in the shadows of his higher-touted classmates this offseason, Grant looks like he will prove to be a dangerous fifth guard in the Wildcats' attack, one who could probably start for 75 percent of the Big East from day one.

Next up for Villanova is a team of alumni all-stars from Carleton and the University of Ottawa. I honestly do not know what to expect from the alumni; suffice it to say I doubt the group will give Villanova much trouble.

One final note: Carleton, Villanova's first opponent this weekend, beat the Alabama Crimson Tide tonight in Ottawa by a score of 83-72.

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02 September 2007

Stokes shines as 'Cats cruise past Queen's

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/02/2007 04:21:00 PM
Villanova was never threatened today in its second exhibition game in Canada, and the Wildcats posted an easy 73-43 win against Queen's University today at Carleton's "Ravens' Nest" gymnasium.

Villanova jumped out to a 23-2 lead and never looked back. The 'Cats took a 44-16 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The game was the first of a crosstown doubleheader today. Villanova will take on the University of Ottawa on its campus tonight at 7 p.m.

Villanova's official site posts a lengthy game recap. No box score is yet available.

The freshman guard Corey Stokes led the Wildcats with 17 points in 38 minutes. Stokes also had 7 rebounds.

Today's game featured an unusual starting lineup of Stokes, freshman Malcolm Grant, sophomore Dwayne Anderson, and redshirt freshmen Antonio Pena and Andrew Ott.

After the game, Jay Wright said his goal was to get a look at his younger, inexperienced players:

We decided coming in that we wanted to get a great look at our young guys. With two games in one day, we looked at this as an opportunity to test our younger players. I thought they responded well, especially on defense.

Scottie Reynolds, Reggie Redding, Shane Clark, and Dante Cunningham did not see any action against Queen's University. All are expected to play significant minutes tonight against Ottawa, according to the recap on Villanova.com.

Stokes was not the only Wildcat to impress. Sophomore center Casiem Drummon posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Redshirt freshman Andrew Ott looked sharp with 7 points and 9 rebounds.

Freshman guard Malcolm Grant contributed 14 points and a team-high 4 assists, and swingman Dwayne Anderson had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Antonio Pena, the other redshirt freshman big man, put in 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in a strong performance.

After the game, Jay Wright called his team unselfish and said he is excited about the Villanova's prospects for the year.

The Wildcats next face the University of Ottawa tonight at 7 p.m.

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'Cats top Carleton in exhibition

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/02/2007 07:10:00 AM
Villanova won its first of four Canadian exhibition games tonight with a 61-46 victory over Carleton University, which hosted the game.

Villanova University's official Web site has a recap and a box score.

Since neither audio or video were available, it's hard for me to give much insight on how Villanova's players looked.

I can, however, read through the box score and note what jumps out at me.

The most important fact I can glean from the box score is that the starters were Drummond, Cunningham, Clark, Redding, and Reynolds. I do not expect that lineup to last long, however, as it makes too much sense to start Corey Fisher at the point.

The lineup I would most like to see start is Drummond, Cunningham, Redding, Reynolds, and Fisher. Clark would be the first man off the bench to provide a scoring and energy boost, followed by Pena to spell frontcourt players, with Stokes and Grant coming in to give guards a breather.

The next thing to note from the box score is Villanova's excellent defense. Granted, Carleton is not USC or UCLA, but to hold any decent college team to 46 points is admirable, and Carleton is a decent college team. Villanova only allowed 19 first-half points, and according to the official recap, the 'Cats held the Ravens scoreless the game's first four minutes.

Dante Cunningham led the 'Cats in scoring tonight with 13 points on 4-11 shooting. Scottie Reynolds added 12 points and played the most minutes of any Wildcat with 34. Shane Clark scored 11 on efficient 4-8 shooting, and led the team in rebounds with 7.

Reggie Redding scored just 1 point on 0-4 shooting but did lead the team in assists, with 5. Freshman guard Malcolm Grant looked to have played well in his 10 minutes with 5 points and 2 boards.

The much awaited debut of the two Coreys was not as spectacular as many anticipated. Corey Fisher scored 7 times in 9 attempts from the charity stripe, but was 0-2 from the field in his 27 minutes. He added a steal and an assist.

Corey Stokes did not see much playing time tonight and was 0-2 from the field in 5 minutes.

Next up for the Wildcats is Queen's University, Sunday at noon at Carleton.

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01 September 2007

'Cats open season tonight in Canadian tour

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
9/01/2007 03:42:00 PM
Villanova basketball officially kicks off tonight in Ottawa, of all places, at Carleton University.

The Wildcats will take on the host Carleton Ravens tonight at 7 p.m. in an exhibition game.

Yes, I had to look up Carleton's mascot on Wikipedia.

Tonight's game is the first of four exhibitions scheduled this weekend for Villanova. The 'Cats will face Queen's University (Ontario) tomorrow at noon in Carleton's gym, before heading across town that same day to play the University of Ottawa on its home court at 7 p.m Sunday.

The Canadian tour concludes Monday at noon back at Carleton, where Villanova will be matched up with a ragtag all-star team of the best players alumni from Carleton and the University of Ottawa.

The Canadian exhibitions also mark the debuts of Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and Malcolm Grant, the three highly touted freshman guards.

The Philadelphia Daily News runs a nice feature on the two Coreys, and Villanova released a press piece about Malcolm Grant.

Tonight's game will also be the first look at redshirt freshman forward Antonio Pena.

Far be it from me to make predictions, but Villanova should win all four games without breaking a sweat. There is simply no way any collegiate team north of the border will be able to handle Villanova's backcourt, which should be one of the best in the United States this season.

One of the things to look for in the four exhibitions is the backcourt interaction between the three freshmen and returning sophomore Scottie Reynolds, who is unquestionably the team's best scorer. Reynolds should move over to the two guard this year after handling point duties last season.

A video feed for the games is not available, which is a shame for a school with as large a basketball following as Villanova. It does not look like there will be audio for the games, either.

Box scores should be posted on the Villanova Web site at some point after the games. As always, check back here for more information as it becomes available.

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